We have crossed the equator two days ago! What a neat feeling to think tht we have come so far on this trip!~!!!
We just arrived to Nairobi yesterday night for a day of rest. But in fact it seems we never quite really rest
What does a rest day look like in the Tour d'Afrique?
First I usually arrived late in the afternoon and for many places this means hoping (i.e., crossing) the fingers that there will still be some water left...
One must change tires (if need be for next riding segment – i.e., putting those big fat tires for dirt roads or your fast slick tires if it is pavement...);
Then clean the chain and the rest of the bike;
And most importantly work with the mechano if you have any major issues that you can't deal with by yourself – by the way, we have a great guy as mechano who is an angel and knows his stuff!!! Thanks Marc!
So far I had some issues with my breaks and speeds adjustment – but I would imagine that it is quite normal considering that we have done a little more than 5000km;
I usually try to deal with bike cleaning and maintaining on the afternoon of arrival to get that out of the way - I must say that I am still quite bad at it!
Yek yerk yerk – but I have learned that it is better to do your own laundry by hand if one wants to be sure to recover all his/her clothes and be ready for the day we are leaving!!!!
It takes one wash and two rinces to get cycling shorts and jersey "reasonably" cleaned - Forget about ever getting your white stuff looking white again
Imagine at least 25 cyclist all attempting to do their laundry by hands – all “fighting for a tub and water (when water is limited... and that has been the case in many places in Ethiopia...) Also better to do it in the afternoon of arrival or at 0600 am next morning if you want to be sure that your laundry dry in time!!! (and yes most of us still wake up around 0600 am on rest day...)
You can't imagine the pleasure of taking a shower after 4-5days of bush camps where water is limited and we only wash with baby wipes...
In Nairobi – where we are right now – very nice campground with great showers, i.e., more than one shower for 50 cyclists with enough pressure until everyone has finished their showers, hot water and hooks on the doors – see how definition of luxury changes
I can assure you that girly maintenance stuff is quite limited – and I have hairy legs very often – can't be bother and often too tired to do anything …
And lately I have been fixing flats during the days and at nights: My front tire got some small metal pieces in several places and it resulted in having “many holes” in many tubes throughout the days and at nights – which actually left very little time/energy for showers
Look around for internet, comfort food, etc
Yep, one can easily spend 2 hours looking for internet shop “in towns” during rest days, making the lines because 20 other cyclist found it before you and there is only 3 internet stations in town!
Internet connection has been very slow as we crossed Ethiopia and North of Kenya!!!
And then the comfort food... For me : In the Sudan it was yohourt (mium I miss it so much, i.e., no yogourth at all in Ethiopia. In Ethiopia, it was the fresh juice (huge glasses of mango, avocado and papaya mixed fresh juice made in front of you – for about $1-2 USA!!! - Yep avacado mixed with mango and papaya is delecious – just wait when I come back I will most certainly attempt to do these juices at home, and in North of Kenya it was mostly "bush camps" (i.e., no real facilties anywhere for teh begining - but we have now reached the chocolate about 2 days ago - I am now eating Mars bars and let me tell you that they taste bloody good!
By the way, I also drink sprite and fanta orange on the coke stops during long hot days – yep! This is often the only cold drinks available. You would not recognise me
Despite all of the above I have still managed to loose weight: my hips, breast and part of my bum are gone! I am tiny but don't worry I think I have it under control now – I eat a lot for the meals at night, I have also started to eat 4 power bars per day (TDA gives us those rather weird power bars and I use not to like it – well, now I actually crave for them during these long hard days in Northern Kenya) Thus, weight management is”now” under control – I should not be too scaring when I come back
Yes, I do try to do some tourism visits during rest days and take a lot of pictures but I can tell you that a "rest day" goes really really fast. I expect to do more tourism in the second part of the trip as “commodities” get easier to find and thus leaving more time for looking around.
|For those interested – the roads we took lately:
Southern Etiopia through Yabello and Moyale – Yabello reserve was beautiful to ride through as the vegetation was high green and desertic all together at different times...
Then Northern Kenya – mostly bush camps (which I truly loved – will described thse bush camps in another posting) going through semi desertic and hard journeys (the "roads to hell" from in the previous posting)
BUT we did got to the rural / very agricultural areas of middle Kenya as we passed through Isiolo and Nanyaki (beautiful little villages – where I got a chance to sit and look at the locals going on with their days).
Riding into Nairobi was a total different experience:
The types of crops: mango, bananas, pineapple (there was a Delmonte pineapple farm – yep the big corporations are here such as Nestle – we also saw corn, tomatoes, avocado and a lot of other fruits and vegetables. I have started to stop on the side of the roads to buy fruits as I ride during the day – Mium.
The language in Kenya is Swaili – which we will keep as we crossed other countries – a very musical language which I like!
Today we road 115 km to get to Nairobi. This was very very strange – I felt like I was no more in Africa – A lot of abundance with respect to crops and highways … (i.e.,k a two lanes roads) as well as billboards and people dressed in very western fashion. Nice but I am sure that I will soon want to be back in bush camps.
The main danger right now are the cars - The Kenyan are driving like maniac - I have truly never seen taht before - they are pushing the clycists when over taking a "slow cars) - i.e., slow cars are driving 120 km so imagne fast cars! The roads are paved (roughly) but no shoulder so two cars passing each others and the cylcist is in the ditch - that is not counting the very possibility of a third car passing you in the ditch - it is hell and dangerous (Stephan - don't read that part to mom!!!). Also, on the funny side, they drive on the left so I have to remember to stay on the right side of the road!!!
What is next?
Two more days to ride from Nairobi to Arsusha (Tanzania) and then I will be doing a 3 day safari – more to come soon on that.
That's it for now. Madeleine un gros merci pour les nouvelles. Claude c'est tres gentils les mots d'encouragement! Pascal: Je t'ai deja dit que j'avais un "secret" crush on you" - donc la reference a la creme glacee n'etait nullement une indication de l'ardeur de mon affection pour toi . Un gros gros merci a Bill - je vais chercher la boite a DHL maintenant - je suis aussi excitee que pour Noel.
Vous me manquer tous beaucoup mais par contre je prefere mon climat au votre